Old Princethorpian Interview

Ian Brown

Bit of background, where you live, what you do for a living:

As I write this personal summary we are at the start of ‘Lockdown 3’ which is a very uncertain period for all, I hope we can remain safe and healthy during this most difficult time. I’m fortunate to live in Chipping Campden in the North Cotswolds. The quality of life here is ‘English countryside’ at its best and there’s plenty going on, especially once we have navigated through Covid-19. I have been involved with an engineering/manufacturing company based near Leamington Spa for more than 30 years, 20 years as Sales Director and 3 years as Managing Director prior to becoming Deputy Chairman in 2019. It is possibly the nearest factory to Princethorpe, although I have previously worked in Newcastle and Bristol. The Company has a great ethos; being considerate to all, respectful and recognising ability, sounds familiar!


Not sure how it happened but 62

When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to?

I joined in the second year and left in L6 in 1976 when my parents moved back to Cheshire. I was in a year with a great cohort of friends many called Michael, so nicknames were commonplace. The pandemic has helped us reunite via Zoom (thanks Rollo!) and this has been a great opportunity for our year to regroup, several friends have been in touch with each other for years. I regret not staying in contact but look forward to meeting them all again in person, as and when we are allowed.

What was the school like in your day?

I have incredibly fond memories of Princethorpe. I was very keen on sport; rugby in the winter and athletics in the summer. The school encouraged me, especially teachers Mr Moroney and Mr Price. I perhaps didn’t have huge ability but the fact that I was quite tall for my age helped me excel for a while, especially in the line-out when playing rugby, then everyone caught up and I wasn’t the tall one! I was a dayboy travelling in from Kenilworth. The school seemed large and perhaps intimidating but get underneath it and that was far from the case, although a few of the teachers/priests were fairly formidable at times.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

My experience at Princethorpe was one of nurturing and encouraging the individual, although perhaps at the time I didn’t realise it. I hope that I am a considerate person who sees the best in all and every situation. Life can throw a few ‘hospital passes’ and we all have experiences that are not so easy but good education, friends and family can help through the tricky times. I am quite determined and resourceful and sure this is a product of both my schooldays as well as my family.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Don’t drive so fast would be one! I think like many who have reached 60+ there’s no need to rush through life, incredibly easy to say when you get older but just enjoy the moment that you are in. It’s Important to have ambition but remember there’s always someone else with a bigger boat. Be kind to all you meet, they have families and friends just like you.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?

Naturally family are key to my happiness. My parents were very supportive when I was growing up and always seemed young and adventurous. I remember skiing holidays to Norway staying in a chalet and Scotland when we were in a caravan with very limited heating, character building I guess and predated school ski trips; Pertisau Austria being memorable. I have known my wife Karen since I was 22, almost 40 years and she has influenced most of my life. I was fortunate to meet her in Bristol and even more fortunate that we have been together ever since!

What keeps you awake at night?

The current situation is of concern but the good news is there is a vaccine and roll on Easter! We have 2 daughters and we are proud of them both, occasional sleepless nights regardless of their age whether 14 or as they are now 34 and 36!

What has been your proudest moment/greatest achievement so far?

Personally; 2 lovely daughters, 2 terrific sons-in-law and 4 grandchildren. Professionally; being part of a company that has developed to become a successful and market leading business.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Well it’s nothing other than a possession, about 20 years ago I bought an Austin Healey 3000, a beast of a car which I sold too soon just before they virtually doubled in price! However my biggest indulgence, if I can include this, are our 4 grandchildren I’m happy to spoil them at any opportunity!

If you had to have one last meal, what would it be?

Food has so many memories and I think a fresh crab salad would do the trick for me as it would be the summer and eating it outside by the coast, a great positive thought whilst sitting here in the winter!

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and who would be with you?

If I was answering this question pre Covid-19 it would be in Mustique with friends, but now having hardly seen our family at all, I’d be more than happy for them to all visit us here in the Cotswolds and just catch up, that shows you what’s important doesn’t it!

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

I’ve been proud to say that I attended Princethorpe and my parents made sacrifices to send me, I shall always be grateful to them. 

Are you in touch with any other Old Princethorpians, if so whom?

Peter Rollason has been a great friend for many years and more recently quite a few on Zoom the names will mean very little to the majority of readers but Yank, Nags, Robin, Ernie, Paddy, Harry, Locky, Anil, Clive, Steve, Richard, Dinu, Eric, Paul, Marc, Bill. I apologise for those I have missed, it can get a bit hectic on Zoom!

Is there anyone you would like to track down?

Robert Kedwards was a great friend and rugby playing buddy at school. He left Princethorpe to join Solihull sixth form college and I visited Solihull on several occasions, at the time they were the ‘bright lights’ especially having spent time at an all-boys school as Princethorpe was at the time

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